You’ve Been Washing Your Fruits and Vegetables All Wrong (Slideshow)

A quick guide to some of the most common produce cleaning mistakes

Broccoli and Cauliflower

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Broccoli and cauliflower have lots of crevices where germs can hide. Soak broccoli and cauliflower in a bowl of cold water for two minutes before rinsing them under cold running water. 

Avocado

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You probably don’t think to wash the skin of an avocado before cutting it but the skin can harbor harmful bacteria and can contaminate your knife as you cut. Be sure to rinse the skin and scrub it gently with a brush before cutting the avocado.

Apples

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Stems can trap bacteria and dirt. Be sure to trim both ends of the apple after washing it under cold running water with a brush.

Hot Peppers

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You should wear gloves when handling hot peppers, even when you’re washing them. The pepper’s natural oils can burn your skin and eyes.

Mushrooms

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No water is needed to clean mushrooms — a dry brush is sufficient to sweep away dirt and microbes. If you have a particularly dirty mushroom you can use a damp paper towel or give it a quick rinse under cold running water, but be careful not to get the mushroom too wet; mushrooms act like sponges and won’t cook well if they absorb too much water.

Fresh Herbs

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Fresh herbs should be handled gently. The best way to remove dirt and germs hiding in their leaves is to dip them into a bowl of cold water and swish them around gently. Then, pat the herbs dry with a clean paper towel.

Melon

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Even though the rind of the melon is trimmed away, it should be washed under cold running water and scrubbed thoroughly with a brush before the fruit is cut so that the knife will not become contaminated. Give extra attention to melons that have a textured rind (like cantaloupe) – dirt and germs can hide in the crevices.

Leafy Greens

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Soak leafy greens in a bowl of cold water for two minutes before rinsing them under cold running water to remove any trapped dirt or germs.